Cousin Willie’s Tips for Grillin' when it’s Cold AF

Cousin Willie’s Tips for Grillin' when it’s Cold AF

Grilling in the cold is something we not only have to deal with, but it's something we prepare for year after year in the North. Hell, it's a borderline "right of passage" to learn how to grill a steak with Arctic air trying to knock the ash off of your cigar. All challenges considered, it's still a great way to enjoy all the delicious flavors of grilled food even when the weather isn't cooperating. 

"I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery." - Ellen Griswold

There's nothing quite like the taste of a juicy, perfectly cooked steak, or the smell of grilled vegetables sizzling over the coals. Plus, grilling in the cold can be a fun challenge, especially if you're a seasoned grillmaster. It takes a little extra effort to get the grill lit and maintain a consistent temperature, but the sense of accomplishment you get from pulling off a successful cookout in frigid weather is (usually) totally worth it. Just bundle up, fire up the grill, and get cookin'!

"I have a big favor to ask you. Could you go into town and get me a big, juicy, prime rib?" - Clark Griswold

Cousin Willie’s Tips for Grillin when it’s Cold AF

  • Keepin' warm: It can be pretty damn cold out there and that can make grillin' a bit of a challenge. You'll want to dress warmly, and maybe even huddle up next to the grill to keep warm. Layer up. Layers are king when it comes to stopping cold wind from dropping your body temp. Even if you don’t keep subarctic clothes handy due to your location, I’m sure you have some XXXL Hanes Beefy T’s you can layer on. Toss on a beanie cap or use a hoodie to keep your ears warm, use any type of glove available to keep direct contact with cold metal to a minimum.
  • Lightin' the grill: It can be tough to get a grill started in cold weather, especially if it's been sittin' outside for a while. You may need to use a little starter fluid (I know, I know… beggars can’t be choosers), or else huddle up next to the grill and try to blow on the coals a little to get 'em goin'. Have patience and be ready for it to be a little bit of a pain in the butt.

  • Maintainin' the temperature: It's harder to maintain a consistent temperature on a grill in cold weather especially if it’s breezy out there. You might need to adjust the vents, adjust the positioning of the grill itself to be out of the direct flow of wind or add more charcoal to keep the heat up. If you’re moving your grill to a new spot with a wind-break, just make sure it’s not too close to a house or building.

"What do you mean you're burning the roast? You're not supposed to be cooking it, I am. I'm the cook in this family." - Ellen Griswold

  • Preventin' the food from freezin': Start with the meat as close to room temperature as possible. Let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes prior to grillin’. A few minutes and a few degrees can make a huge difference when it comes to grilling in the cold. If it's really cold outside, you might need to take steps to prevent your food from freezin', such as grillin' it closer to the heat source or usin' a cold-weather grill cover.

  • Dealin' with snow and ice: If there's snow or ice on the ground, it can be tough to walk to or around the grill or snag the tools you need. You might need to shovel a path or use special boots to keep your feet dry and warm. Any shovel will work if you don’t have a snow shovel, just play it cool and don’t dig a ditch in the lawn to the grill. Nice boots are invaluable here - the Crocs may need to take a knee for the weekend. Boots, gloves, beanie and hoodie, and you should be good for most temperatures until they drop well below 0.

Cousin Willie's Quick, Fast, & In A Hurry Top 5 Best Foods to Grill when it's Cold AF

  1. Steak: Steak is a classic choice for grilling, and it's just as delicious in the cold as it is in the warm weather. Just make sure you bring the steak to room temperature before grilling, and use a meat thermometer to ensure it's cooked to your desired level of doneness. Hit it HOT & FAST, and bang out some awesome steaks.

  2. Burgers: Burgers are another classic choice, and they're easy to cook up in the cold. Just be sure to keep the heat high enough to cook the burgers through, and use a meat thermometer to ensure they're cooked to a safe temperature. A super-easy, delicious and unique variation is to add some seasoning like CARVING HOUSE or BUSHCRAFT into the ground beef prior to making the patties. MONEY.

  3. Shrimp: Don't let a little cold weather stop you from grilling up some delicious shrimp! Toss them in some olive oil and coat with seasonings, then toss right on the grates or in a nice cast iron pan. With the right gear and a little bit of know-how, you can enjoy succulent, perfectly grilled shrimp even when the temperature is below freezing. Just bundle up, fire up the grill, and let Cousin Eddie show you how it's done!

  4. Sausages: Sausages are a great option for cold weather grilling, as they cook quickly and are easy to turn & flip on the grill. Chop them up or toss them on a bun with some peppers and onions for a real par-tay.

  5. Vegetables: Don't be scared. Grilled vegetables are a delicious and healthy option for cold weather grilling. Just be sure to cut the vegetables into smaller pieces so they cook more quickly and evenly. Spray some cooking spray on them then dust with a coarse seasoning to get nice little char and crunch.

Stay warm out there, and don't be afraid to bundle up and brave the cold if you're in the mood for some grilled grub. Just make sure you take the necessary precautions to stay safe and warm, and you'll be cookin' up a storm in no time.

Merry Christmas to you and all of of Tacticalories Flavor Cult members! I hope you're all stayin' warm and cozy on this special holiday, and that you're able to spend some quality time with your loved ones (and less than loved ones). It's a time of year for givin' thanks and sharin' good cheer, and I'm glad to be able to wish you all a very merry Christmas. So from me, Cousin Eddie, to all of you, I hope you have a fantastic holiday season filled with joy, laughter, and of course, plenty of delicious grilled goodies!

- Cousin Willie